Name: South Bay
Owner: Rob Seitz
Length: 59.4 feet
Beam: 17.5 feet
Engine: Cummins N14
Cruising speed: 7.5 knots
Fuel capacity: 4,000 gallons
Use: The South Bay is a commercial fishing vessel that was built in 1979 in Fields Landing, California. The boat was used for fishing out of Westport and then Morro Bay, California to trawl for spot prawns. Then the Nature Conservancy purchased the South Bay before deciding to put the boat back to work. Rob Seitz, the current owner, bought it and worked in Morro Bay for several years before moving back up to Oregon to fish for pink shrimp.
“It’s a great fishery,” Seitz said. “We use excluding devices and LED lights that have pretty much eliminated bycatch.”
Seitz and his wife, Tiffani Seitz, also opened up a restaurant in Astoria, South Bay Wild Fish House, where they serve local, sustainable seafood. They sell their catch to Bornstein Seafood and buy some of it back to serve at the restaurant. Two of the Seitz’s children work at the restaurant while one, James Seitz, works on the boat. The Seitzs also do their own welding to repair and maintain the South Bay at the Port of Astoria.
Next winter, Seitz plans to use the South Bay in the Dungeness crab fishery for the first time.
Joseph Maki, a crew member, said the South Bay is a great operation and Seitz treats the crew well.
“It’s a mom and pop operation,” Maki said. “The owner/operator is here with us, right in the trenches with us.”
The South Bay also carries whiskey barrels from Pilot House Distilling in Astoria. According to Seitz, the constant motion of the boat on water causes the sediments in the whiskey to float up and mix, and it absorbs the essence of the salty air.
“A year at sea will make it taste like it’s a 30-year-old whiskey,” Seitz said.
Once it’s done with its trips to sea, the whiskey will be served at the South Bay Wild Fish House.